Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Letter to 2011

Dear 2011,
Thank you kindly for reminding me that every loss from 1 January to 31 December meant I had something and someone to hold dear in the first place; sometimes those things and people others have not. Thank you for reminding me that whilst I am going 90 mph to get things done, that at that speed I can still enjoy the wind in my hair and on my face. Thank you for the moments when I came to a complete halt with fatique, a roadblock or a moment of confusion, so that I may notice some small thing that inspired flowing words and a full heart. Thank you deeply for providing the safety of shadows for my dearest, darkest facets, a bit of light for a blossoming idea, and countless new voices to join in the chorus of many others in my life who have given me much to think about, nudged me past my own self-imposed limitations aend annoyed me so thoroughly that I walked 'round them to reach the next goal.
I will mourn your passing in many ways as I look to 2012 as a new beginning and the repository for so many wonderful (and painfully instructive) bits of insight, knowledge and questions.
Vaya con Dios,
R. Sexton
Ruthlessly Verbose Hopeless Romantic, Incurable Sentimentalist and Unapologetic Cynic   

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays and a Huge Thank You

I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a Very Happy Holiday Season. Merry Christmas,  Happy Hanukkah, a Blessed Yule and though a few days late... a Bright and Insightful Solstice. No matter which holiday you celebrate, make it yours, enjoy old traditions and invent a few new ones. And I wish you all the best as we close in on a new year.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Haunted Victorianesque Christmas - Reminiscing Wall

I had begun a separate post regarding gift wrap, then this one insisted on being finished and shared.  Every year I listen as friends, family and even acquaintances approach Thanksgiving with an almost tentative excitement, as the hustle and bustle of the Holiday Season kicks into high gear. Most of us immediately think "But of course, it is overcommercialized and the stress is over the top," but this is not the real reason for the holiday angst.  As I am certain anyone reading this post can attest, the real reason for the slight sinking feeling and the momentary angst is the realization that all of the lovely memories of Christmas past include the pang of grief and emptiness that comes with knowing who will not be there for the festivities. I have lost count over the years of the times I have been told "I hate the holidays. It just depresses me because I miss them so much."  Well, I am a firm believer that no one truly "hates" the holidays, they simply feel more keenly the pain of having lost someone who is usually the foundation of their Christmas and other Holiday traditions, and whose face is indelibly etched in all the best memories.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Haunted Victorianesque Christmas - Candle Light

Now this topic probably sounds like a complete given, however what makes the use of
candles more Victorianesque is how one displays them. And for the sake of fun, I will
also include oil lighting in this post. Keep in mind that in the mid-Victorian Era, oil lamps, candles and gas lighting were the primary sources of light. That same warm dancing illumination is the same image that holds dear in our collective romantic notions. And that is what makes it so perfect for your Victorianesque Christmas home. Both are relatively inexpensive to acquire and while they have many practical uses year round, they are particularly nice this time of year.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Haunted Victorianesque Christmas - Trees

When I first began this post, it seemed rather run-of-the-mill with ideas that can be
found in most decorating magazines on news stands this time of year. So I decided to
go back to basics. I realized that when you do Victorian decorating every year for
the holidays, you do not think much about what sets it apart.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Haunted Victorianesque Christmas - A Lovely Find and a Hint of History

Welcome to December! My apologies for a month or so of EVGA silence. November has been a month of high activity and preparation for the Winter holidays among other things. I have always been a strong supporter of the idea that the Autumn and Winter holidays were meant to be savoured. I constantly hear how the last part of the year seems to fly by from October with its Hallowe'en planning through New Year. I agree, but not for any reason, in my opinion, other than that all the best holidays were saved up for the best seasons. With that in mind, I did hold off on babbling about Christmas in the hope that those who enjoy Thanksgiving and other Autumn holidays would take the time to revel in their russet-and-gold hued celebrations, enjoying every last moment of Autumn's glory before diving head- and heart-first into snowy Winter and its laundry list of events.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Wish for the Holiday Season

Photo credit: Margaret Taylor via
To begin, please allow me to apologize for the long silence since All Hallow's Eve. I
have jokingly blamed it on "Post-Hallowe'en Malaise" and they do say that every joke
holds a thread or two of truth to it. While, like many of you, Hallowe'en is the
pinnacle of the year, and there are always (large) remnants of it year round in my
home and lifestyle, it is not so much the passing of the holiday that brings that
small, nagging drop of dread. It is the realization that the Holiday Season is upon
us and time will fly much too fast and be gone before we've had a moment to blink,
breathe, or even revel in it. My goal this year is to weed that self-fulfilling
prophecy out of my psyche, and instead.. revel. And I hope that through my writings
here and some of the hair-brained suggestions I commit to print, you will be able to
revel in the holidays, whichever you choose, with me and bring a bit more rich,
decadent colour, candlelight and ghostly glow to the wonderfully dark Winter days and

My other goal for the holidays and EVGA is to post my own 13 Days of Christmas. I
know, I know... it's 12 days of Christmas, but I prefer a Baker's Dozen..
besides...this is ME we're talking about. As usual, the holiday will be
Victorianesque and I will attempt to lace it with some lovely haunting touches
featuring rich Gothic colours and designs.  Does this mean it is only for Christmas? Of course not. I know many fabulously dark and skewed individuals whose Winter holidays do not include the fat man in the red suit. All Victorianesque, haunted and Gothic suggestions should translate to any decor and any celebration. And as always, please do share your ideas, and pictures should you find something of use in my posts.

Please always keep in mind that it is not so much about the decor as the sentiment,
and that decorating and preparation should always be fun. What better time of the
year than the last quarter to let your imagination run wild when Mother Nature has
given you a dark theater and a silver moonlight screen to showcase your creativity
and creations? Do not stress yourself over "just right", but rather, "just for fun."
If I have learned nothing else after many years of eccentric decorating and
experimental holiday cooking (don't ask), some of The Best family traditions are
completely spontaneous and came from last minute decisions because the Grand Plan
went to Hell in a handbasket. Murphy may have been an Irishman, but we all know he
gets around on an international level when our plans are concise. Be flexible, be
adventurous and be prepared to enjoy the Holidays.

Stay tuned...

Raven =)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Hallowe'en Dinner

So this evening we had the big family dinner, as one does on any proper holiday.  We opted for Victorian red and black for the colours of the evening, purple lights overhead and dishes like Guinness roast, black rice with mushrooms, pasta in Hallowe'en shapes with a deep red, spicy red sauce and gourmet sausages. An assortment of pumpkin and red velvet treats served as dessert with a rich French Roast coffee and spiced cider.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: The Dressform and Coatrack

I realize I have said other ideas are easy. Well, this one is, too, especially for
anyone who has a coatrack (or tree) standing around somewhere collecting dust. Those
with dressforms seldom allow them to collect dust, and I will bet they already
understand the spooky, haunted Victorianesque home theme forming here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: The Frame Up

This was meant to be last evening's post, but due to a few technical issues, I am
posting tonight. And my apologies for the cornball title that sounded a bit too much
like an old gangster film line. It is just so difficult to come up with a witty
reference to old picture frames. Although I'm certain at least a few of you will
immediately come up with a dozen or more phrases FAR better than mine. Or one will
occur to me as soon as I post. But I digress.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Lattices

I know, I know. It took me long enough to get to this topic. Fortunately, it does not
take much time or financial investment, but yields probably one of THE best reusable
and versatile items of haunting Victorianesque decor one can add to their collection.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Indoor Autumn Gardening

I have really been looking forward to writing this piece for a number of reasons. The
first being that while most see Autumn as the time of harvest and putting the garden
to rest, the Victorians had some of the best approaches to maintaining a garden year
round. Even though greenhouses have been around since long before the Victorians, one
of my favourite images of grand Victorian homes includes the ornate skeletal
framework and glasswork of their sanctuaries for all things green and flowering
during the coldest months.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Literary Decor

This one probably goes without saying. However, that would make for a very short,
very boring post. Mind you, I am not referring to just having a few of the old scary
classics about. I am referring to books as a display, and with just a little
wordplay, imagination and a half-decent printer or brown marker, a very personalized,
haunted book display. Now that I think about it, this is so deceptively simple, it
may still wind up a very short post. Or shorter than most of my incredibly verbose

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: The Home Apothecary

This is probably one of the easiest and most popular ideas out there for Hallowe'en
decorating with a Victorian flair: The home apothecary. Nothing says "Victorianesque
Hallowe'en" without some apothecary jars in all sizes, a few posters or banners, and
a collection of oddly coloured liquids, or dried "goodies".

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Wicker

Very few things are as Victorian as wicker furniture. And very few styles of furniture
are as unappreciated in this day and age as wicker. I am constantly seeing unloved,
abandoned wicker side tables sitting, slightly tattered in thrift shops and ignored
on front porches. The demand for more durable furniture has led to the creation of
patio furniture woven from strips of vinyl, which, ironically, dry-rots and falls
apart as well.

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Old Houses and Amateur Photographers

What adds to the ambiance of a haunted Victorian home more than pictures of other
possibly-haunted Victorian homes? And if you have ever been to any historic home or
hotel that is reputed to be haunted, I am sure you've noticed old sepia photos of
those places back in their heyday, hanging somewhere in the lobby with a short
historic blurb on a plaquard just below, or in a small side room with other mementos
of "back in the day." The same concept applies here.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Paint It Black

Now that the Rolling Stones have had their song title stolen, I'll explain why (and fight the urge to run pick up paint for my front door, which quite honestly..needs it).  But I'm not necessarily discussing painting doors. You can, however, paint all sorts of things black for this holiday. So let's do...

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Aging (The Indoors) Gracefully

As many know, the Victorians loved decorating with very nature-based themes.
Wallpapers were designed with curling leaf-like swirls, images of urns and cabbage
roses, all inspired by the desire to bring the beauty of the outdoors inside. Large
homes had solariums and green houses that assisted aspiring gardeners with a safe
haven for more tropical plants as well as providing them a green sanctuary during
colder winter months.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: The Homage

Now it's time to get a bit personal. What I refer to as an "homage" (pronounced: "o-
maj" with a soft "j", meaning: "Special honor or respect shown or expressed
publicly") is the creative act of taking the opportunity to make use of the energies
and origins of this season, and particularly the holiday to pay respects to our
dearly departed.

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Costume Ideas

There is a lot more to Victorian Hallowe'en costumes than tossing on a bustle skirt
and corset or top hat and tails. While in and of themselves, these are great ideas
for costumes this time of year, this is also an opportunity to use some imagination
and make your Victorianesque costume far more personal and unique from all the other
large garden party hats, small boaters, top hats, long skirts, long coats and walking

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Silhouettes

(Photo credit: Country Living Magazine)

Now to a fabulous topic that is actually quite inexpensive and you can personalize it
ANY way you wish. Silhouettes. Silhouettes as forms of personalized artforms,
memorializing loved ones in black on white actually predate the Victorian Era,
however, they have never really lost their popularity and add a brilliant touch to
any Victorian home. In this post I will discuss the use of silhouettes as wall art,
window and mirror art, and provide a link to an amazing artist who has created his
unique form of mildly (by my standards) macabre and gleefully homicidal silhouettes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Spooky Chic

"Spooky Chic".. I wish I'd coined this phrase, but sadly, I did not. On the incredibly "up" side, this wonderfully fun style is to be found everywhere and you can even do it yourself.
"Spooky chic" is a great spin on "shabby chic", the phrase used to describe upcycled
and repurposed furniture and other decorative goodies. When one is looking at shabby
chic decor, the first thing that often springs to mind are bits of old furniture it
pastel or white tones with a worn finish. The idea is that the pieces have been saved
and rather than completely refinished, their worn, aged look adds to their charm and
gives their surroundings a certain homey warmth.

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: String lights

Definitely NOT just for Christmas and Winter holidays anymore, string lights in their
myriad colours and blinking configurations have become a mainstay year round for
everything from Mardi Gras and garden lighting to our favourite, Hallowe'en. However, they are not just for stringing along the edges of eaves or the trim of a back patio.
So let us get into many of the fun ways you can use blinking and non-blinking lights
of different hues to set the tone for your haunted Victorianesque home without a huge
investment as most home improvement stores are now stocking up on all manner of
colours, lengths and styles at discounts in preparation for the holiday season.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Music

First off, allow me to begin with an apology. Due to system issues, I was unable to post yesterday's piece. So here it is:
As we all know, a huge part of Hallowe'en is the music. Every good holiday and celebration deserves a soundtrack. There are many different approaches to, and reasons for, good music. Just as there are many different types of music we all enjoy this time of year.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: All Hallow's Tree

Considering we are going for Victorian-"esque" rather than straight historically Victorian themes for our Hallowe'en, we are most assuredly allowed a wide swath of artistic license. In this case, we will borrow from one of the most well-known images of the Holiday Season, the Christmas Tree. However, we are going to borrow the usual corner of the Christmas-celebrant's house for this less-fluffy, and in my opinion, more striking, aesthetically pleasing reminder of those sentinels of the end of Autumn, the barren tree.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Fabrics

Now we get into a topic that really does have infinite possibilities and does not
have to break the bank. One of the most iconic symbols of Victorian decor is its
fabrics and their patterns. As wallpaper, room dividers, window treatments, draft
excluding bed decor and table coverings, fabrics in rich colours, detailed
ornamentation and flowing textures define much of what is seen as Victorian.
Plainer fabrics such as muslins and linens also play a huge part in depicting the
crisp, white, immaculate standards of "better" Victorian households. They also play a
huge role in defining our somewhat-romanticized, yet wonderfully decayed
Victorianesque Haunted Home.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Season for Compassion, Not Drama

The inspiration for this topic is incredibly well-timed. We are now through the door
into the Holiday Season. This is the time of year when emotions run higher than most
other times of the year, when self-imposed expectations become unreasonably and
impossibly high and when the line between drama and someone truly needing a moment of compassion from friends and relatives becomes annoyingly obscured.

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: Old Silver and Candlesticks

Part of the charm of a Victorianesque Hallowe'en is collecting all the little
trinkets that will help set the mood. Before the use of spider webs and eerie
lighting, it is necessary to have the objects to wrap them around or upon which to
cast them.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Victorianesque Hallowe'en: An Introduction

Happy October 1st!

I figured that as we get started on designing a Victorianesque Hallowe'en, it would
be helpful to outline a few things. Hopefully, that will make it easier for anyone
embarking on this lovely, spooky adventure to achieve the dark Victorian affect in
their own unique way, rather than being frustrated by not "matching the photo".

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Etsy Treasuries - Another of Raven's New Addictions

As a follow up to today's fun time on BlogTalkRadio with Oly and Brenna discussing Victorianesque Hallowe'en, I thought I'd attempt to post a quick link to three treasures I've created featuring just SOME of the talented individuals to be found on the craft sales site,  No promises here, but the link below "should" take you to a listing of all three and allow you to check out just some of the fun things I've found (so far) that go perfectly with the idea of a Victorianesque Hallowe'en, or for some of us of the Victorian Gothic persuasion, year-round decor.

This will be one of, I hope, many posts to the EVGA blog featuring Victorianesque Hallowe'en and Autumn decorating, entertaining and costuming ideas, in addition to my usual articles on the foundations of the refined Dark Victorian's etiquette and carriage, as well as the individual artist reviews I so thoroughly enjoy doing. 
And finally, to everyone who listened in both live and via recorded podcast, thank you SO much.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Big Thanks to The Weird Contessa

So.. as I am learning more about this thing called blogging, I added one more "A Ha" moment to my repetoire.. finding out how others found me. Yes, I am without a doubt the world's worst cyber-stalker.
Imagine my surprise and delight to find that Etiquette and the Victorian Aesthetic is among the blogs enjoyed by Gina Draker, the brilliant talent behind Weird Contessa Studios. The moment I found her blog, I was entranced by the first images to appear: miniature marionettes. The detail and care that goes into her pieces is quite obvious, and I must say, her taste in music featured on the pages of Weird Contessa Studio Creations is impeccable. I loved it.
That said, I wish to extend a huge Thank You to the Weird Contessa (Who doesn't adore weird contessas? The world needs more of them.) for the mention on your site, and I extend an invitation to all reading this, to please go visit her blog and indulge yourself in her delightful creations and let the music take you away as it has done with me this evening.

She can be found at:

I know I will be going back to visit as well.
Blessings and Welcome to another brilliantly decadent Hallowe'en Season =)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Fun News and the Beginning of a Victorian Hallowe'en Season

I have had the pleasure of being invited back to BlogTalkRadio as a guest on "Coffee With Oly and Brenna Mar" Sunday, September 25th. My last visit with Oly was last December when we had a wonderful chat about the Goth and Vampire communities. For all the years I have known her, Oly has been a voice of reason, a teacher, and a leader in the pagan and metaphysical communities with first hand knowledge of our fabulously dark, colourful, artistic world and its amazing people.
This time we are going to have fun discussing a Victorianesque Hallowe'en. I will be sharing a bit of history, plus decorating and costuming ideas as well as shortcuts for those of us on a budget (and who isn't these days?). With any luck, I will be able to start posting some of those suggestions and site links to the blog before the show on 9/25 with additional goodies to come afterward.
I am including a link to the show's announcement via BTR, and do hope you can join us, and for those whose schedules do not permit, BTR does archive shows to be listened to later. Please also take a moment to check out Oly's website just below.

Show link:

For more information on my esteemed hostess, please take a moment to visit her site:

So now to start the TO DO list, the How To list and find the Already Have list to add to. Stay tuned...

Raven =)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Well-Mannered Bad Boys

As much of an oxymoron as the title may seem, bad boys with impeccable manners tend to be some of the defining personalities of the Victorian Gothic genre. And with very good reason. Allow me to explain.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Matter of Time and Place

I am going to switch gears here for a bit and discuss something that begins as good
etiquette but is also a huge indicator of an individual's posession of common sense
and understanding of that big word, Respect.
Quite frankly, there is a time and a place for certain behaviours, and most
certainly, for divulging certain bits of information, especially about someone else.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Impact of German Expressionism on the Gothic Aesthetic-An Opinion

I have to admit I was a bit surprised when a dear friend asked me to write about the
impact German Expressionism has had on the Gothic aesthetic. His exact words. It took
less than a moment for me to jump at the chance, as much of the mysterious
romanticism many Goths embody and cherish in music and film was fostered and nurtured by the shadowy, silent, dream-like imagery of early German films. Please allow me to explain.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Come and Shop with Me: Rustic Goth

Who says Victorian art consists predominantly of still life fruitbowls, flowers
spilling over Greco-Roman urns and paintings of fox hunts? I remember when I first
considered featuring artists here on the EVGA blog, I got a lot of responses asking
"How are fruit and flowers Gothic?" and "What's so Goth about fox hunts unless the
riders are headless or it shows the dogs taking down the fox?"
Ok, I have to admit, the second one made me smile just a bit, so I do hope one day I
will find an artist with that same vision. I would most definitely need to feature
their work, then ring up my friend and politely say "SEEE???"
But I digress. When it comes to Victorian Gothic artwork, be it wall art, statuary or
the occasional desktop trinket, I find that everything from upcycled goodies with a
dark shabby chic flair, to folk art with a darker skew can be perfectly Victorian,
especially when the figures are standing next to gas lamps or wearing lovely long
black gowns. It is never about mimicking the style of artwork turned out during the
Victorian period, although I have seen some brilliant attempts. In my eyes, it is
about artists expressing their own style with a Victorian influence, whether it is in
the characters, the imagery or includes influence from Victorian period literature,
just about anything can fit the bill nicely with just a bit of imagination and a love
for the genre.
In this feature, I am thrilled to present the work of the lovely Charlene and her
Rustic Goth artwork. As always, it took me forever to narrow down the number of
pieces to include on the EVGA blog. I prefer to let visitors go enjoy the artists'
original Etsy shops and websites, perusing at their own speed and having the same bit
of fun I have. 
So to of the many reasons why I requested her permission to feature
Rustic Goth was because of the story Charlene tells on her Etsy site. I will leave
that bit of reading to her visitors, but in reading it for myself, it showed me a
beautifully creative use of inspiration that came from a very special place in her
heart. No doubt it has reached the hearts of many admirers of her work, much as it
did mine.
In keeping with my love of Victorian imagery, I wish to start off with three lovely
ladies in Victorian gowns of my favourite hue: black. As if you had to ask. Each has
her own mournful gaze, but is far from alone, accompanied by adorable friends such as
dragonflies, a sweet little owl and a somber raven on a stack of books. These ladies
are perfect company themselves for any Gothic Victorian home that requires the softer
side of haunting and a lovely friend to ponder and reflect with.

The next dear lady I came across is perfect companionship for getting lost in the
imagination, creativity and boundlessness of the steampunk movement (clockwork and
otherwise). Eyes closed, she drifts in a bit of a dream state that invites the viewer
to join in the journey for a while.

Of course I would be remiss in my duties to the EVGA blog if I did not include a bit
of the romance we all envision in our windswept, shadowed, black lacy world. This
beautiful couple with their somber countenance and dark feathered friends would make
a wonderful gift for that perfect pair as a reminder of how timeless and infinite
love can be.

And finally, I absolutely had to include a whimsical bunch that stole my heart at
first glance. With a reminiscent sigh I was taken back to my lovely sleep-deprived
youth and those grand evenings clutching a tattered and terrified teddy bear while
sitting up 'til all hours talking with a smiling reaper and a somewhat disturbingly
happy clown. Ahhh memories...

On that happy note, I give you Rustic Goth, the whimsically dark artwork of Charlene Murray Zatloukal.
I hope you will take some time to visit her Etsy shop and her website, both listed
below, wander through the images and see what strikes your fancy. I have featured
only a small portion of her lovely works, so I assure you many sweet surprises once
you get there.
Etsy Shop:

Have a wonderful evening and may you hear only friendly snarls and growls from the
big plants by the striped wallpaper. =)
Until next,

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Come and Shop with Me: Isabella's Art

Just when I think I have all of my product categories sorted out for featured
vendors, someone comes along and challenges me to find a new way to describe their
work. Isabella's Art is one of those wonderful shops that has succeeded in doing just
that. While I did come across her work on Etsy, I was delighted to find she also  has
her own website and blog where she features work not show on Etsy, including books. I
have included links to her sites at the end of this feature for your perusal and
Now to the fun of sharing a bit of Isabella's work with you. What originally caught
my eye was the collection of laser-cut shadow puppets depicting characters from
tried-and-true children's tales, very true to those that would have been found in a
Victorian Era nursery.
I immediately noticed an adorable cottage cut-then realized it was the Candy House
belonging to the witch in Hansel and Gretel. And what would you know, right next to
the wonderfully-detailed house, were Hansel, Gretel and the Witch, themselves.
Isabella does a beautiful job of illustrating the smallest features of the
characters, from the bow in Gretel's hair to the witch's long, warty nose and the
pattern of her apron, worn, of course, to bake up and serve wayward children lost in
her woods and consuming her home.

And so, in keeping with the theme of munchies, I chose two more pieces drawn from
childhood favourites, only with a bit less cooking, screaming and fleeing. The next
is an adorable depiction of the Teddybears' Picnic. Again, the detail in these well-
dressed and oh-so-civilized bears and their tea party picnic table is exquisite. From
the steam rising from Ms. Bear's tea cup to the lace table cloth trimming and the
rims of Mr. Bear's glasses, these shadow puppets are sure to cast a wonderful shadow,
making the characters come to life with the slightest move of a light source.

Then there is my favourite tea party: none other than the Mad Hatter's. Isabella does
a beautiful job with Alice's dress and the adorable mouse peeking from the tea pot as
always, makes this a lovely trio for tea time fun.

Getting back to picnics, no one can forget fairytale time's favourite picnic basket-
wielding heroine, Little Red Cap, as she was originally named. Many these days
remember her as Red Riding Hood, although I have no idea where "riding" came in, as
she was always skipping through those spooky woods. This pair of shadow puppets
includes a well-done big bad wolf, who looms menacingly over Red.

Take some time to peruse Isabella's sites and enjoy a wonderful stroll down memory
lane to a time when entertainment involved imagination and required no electricity.
In addition to the wonderful shadow puppets, she has also developed a stage just the right size for a creative puppeteer to hide behind, while a window provides the perfect backdrop for any story they can possibly imagine. Or purchase the puppets, find a bare patch of wall and break out the candles for backlighting. Enjoy remembering the folklore we all grew up with and many had forgotten with time and the demands of everyday grownup life. And for all the parents and grandparents out there, just imagine being able to introduce your children and grandchildren to these old
customs of storytelling while spending quality time building the next generation of dark Victorians.
As for me? I am already looking for a spot to clear on the wall and a hanging candle holder in preparation for my own little Hallowe'en theatre night.
Until next...
Etsy shop:

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Little Fun: Men of Period Films Montage

This is probably the first of many things I will share from Victoriana Magazine online. I highly recommend this site to anyone with an interest in all things Victorian, from clothing to customs to film and literature. There is something for everyone. So when you get a moment, be sure to visit

In the meantime, I hope this adds a little fun and a lot of romance to your day.
Via Victoriana Magazine and Youtube.. It's Rainin' Men.:


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Chivalry is Not Dead

It should be curled up in the fetal position in a corner mumbling incoherently
because misguided liberated members of the feminine gender have beaten it down with a
firehose, leaving men dazed and confused and wondering when good manners and respect became offensive behaviour.
However, it BEING Chivalry, it is sitting back patiently, appreciating the occasional
act of good faith, good manners and gracious appreciation. It understands that change
brings good and bad, and that the old addage "You don't miss the water 'til the well
runs dry" makes a very good point. Chivalry has faith in the hearts of humankind and
knows it is not entirely forgotten. (Why else would I be doing this blog and finding
wonderful individuals who inspire me to keep going?)

Sunday, July 24, 2011


I was particularly pleased when this word was brought up several times over the
course of just two days. To be quite frank, I was afraid that the word "demure" had
been bludgeoned to a bloody death some time ago and that only a scant few of us
remained who had any clue what it meant, much less its worth.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Come and Shop with Me: Immortal Visions

So we have established that I am already adamantly enamoured with a rapidly growing
number of talented individuals who continue to indirectly feed into my dark, lacey,
beribboned, mildly sparkly, hand-embellished, India ink-stained addiction. It makes
this part of the "job" just that much more fun. This time I am thrilled to be
featuring a local talent whose papercrafts leapt off the pages of Etsy at me,
whispering "Come. Look. Acquire. Share." Then there was something else about the many incredible uses for the unique and beautiful creations of Immortal Visions.

Imagine, if you will (I did), the following scenario. You are planning a lovely
midnight tarot tea party. My favourite kind. Your guest list is carefully chosen,
distinguished, brilliantly dark and always dressed to kill. No ordinary party store
invitations or "e-vites" will suffice. This event is indicative of the type of
host/ess you are and the level of high esteem in which you hold your would-be
attendees. Your invitations should be unique and reflect the spirit of the occasion.

Just because it is midnight does not mean the garden is asleep. These dark floral
notecards from Immortal Visions are just the thing for including a handwritten note
to your potential guests along with time, place and other pertinent information. The
lovely flowers are a graceful reminder of the event and ensure that they do not get
lost in a stack of other, far less important correspondences.

Perhaps you have another event on your social calendar, and this time you are the
attendee. Your hosts have indulged your senses with the soft glow of black candles,
red glassware, dark classically-inspired music and an evening of formal attire at the
Masque of the season. Several days later, after you have recovered and find yourself
reveling in fond memories and more than a few intrigues, you remember that you
absolutely must (MUST) thank your hosts. After several cups of restorative (tea,
coffee, etc.) you sit down to write an eloquent, yet to-the-point note of gratitude.

Of course, who can forget all of the wonderful gift-giving holidays: Birthdays, new
kinderspawn, (haunted) housewarming, Christmas, All Hallows. Presentation is
everything. It says "Thinking of you" and "I've known you too long to deny your
maudlin quirks now." What better than a lovely album for the hopeless romantic in
your life? Include a few lovely lines of poetry or photos to mark the event and
remind them that while "Love Bites"... that is not always a bad thing.

Or perhaps you have already aquired a small trinket of some sentimental or symbolic
value and wish to present it in the best wrappings. This trio includes a sweetly
decorated miniature coffin, matching gift card and note card to include your own

Now please do keep in mind that I am only scratching the surface of the beautiful
creations of Immortal Visions. As with each of the artists I have come across and
hope to continue to feature, I find myself wondering what inspires them, so, being
ever inquisitive, I ask. Immortal Visions creator, Melissa, was kind enough to share
with me her concern that the art of true correspondence was being sacrificed in lieu
of impersonal, and painfully unimaginative, greeting cards. I knew I had contacted
the right person. When she also shared her "borderline obsession" with "the three V's
- Vampires, Victorian and Vintage" there was no way I could pass up the opportunity
to do this.

As anyone who knows me will tell you, I refuse to believe that there exist no more
people who appreciate, embody and long for the days of true romanticism. So, with
infinite pleasure, I give you another fine supplier of the necessities of a life
darkly, richly, indulgently, and well-lived with the refinement and joie de vivre et
la mort it truly deserves. So please, take a few moments (or more) to visit Melissa
at Immortal Visions and break out that quill and India ink.

On Etsy:
On Facebook:
While you're there, tell her Raven said Hello. Now I am off to find a fresh quill.
Seems they double well as cat toys.

Be well, be dark, and always be uniquely true to yourself. ;)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The More the Merrier; Let's Be Unique Together

While the title seems extremely tongue-in-cheek it is also a very sincere sentiment
that takes on two unique meanings. As a person who leans heavily toward the Victorian
Gothic side of things, I occasionally have people assume this makes me (and other
Victorian Goths) snobs toward the rest of the Goth culture. It usually takes less
than a minute in our presence around ANYone else, Goth or not, to realize how
ludicrous a notion that is. So here is the point of my statement, in two pieces.
1. We are each extremely unique, enjoying and appreciating knowing others different
from ourselves for the variety and interesting exchanges that brings.
2. Within every large group of unique individuals there are many commonalities, and
those commonalities lead to sub-groups under their own banners. These sub-cultures
within the culture create a wonderful sense of community support without detracting
from the member's individuality. It is an inspiring gathering of like-minds that is
more focused on the fashion, tastes and events particular to that group.
One of the strongest traits of any Goth, Victorian or otherwise, is a unique sense of
personal style. This transcends hair colour and clothing, to include preferences in
film, music, even television shows (and cartoons). While a person's primary style
influence may fall into a single category (Victorian, Industrial, Cyber, Lolita,
Perky, Romantic, etc.) they are never restricted by some unwritten list of rules
stating the can or cannot wear something(s) from other styles. In fact, Goths are
brilliant when it comes to blending styles and cross-accessorizing. At last check,
tastes in music, literature, film and events also create more common ground than not.
By sharing ideas, styles, experiences, the entire culture has become a pretty
cohesive collective under the umbrella of "Goth" while retaining and celebrating each
member's individuality, and their right to express it as mildy or extremely as they
Speaking of umbrellas.. I am off to do a little shopping for parasols.
Until next... Keep it real(ly interesting) =)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Less is More - The Simple Math Behind Mystique

No, I am not referring to a blue female character from the X-Men series. Just to
clear that up.
This topic has been brought up to me quite a lot lately, from several different
perspectives, so I thought perhaps I could do a (hopefully) brief post about it. Much
like the quote at the head of my blog: "Being powerful is like being a lady. If you
have to tell people you are, you aren't." Lady Margaret Thatcher was both. She was
also an incredibly strong, intelligent woman who used her words and her position
wisely. Through her actions and her sincerity, she became an icon, a role model to
many women of her time.
The same philosophy goes for the "air of mystery" or the "mystique" that some individuals seem to embody almost effortlessly. We have all seen them. We have, on some level, recognized that quiet beauty and unspoken magnetism that comes from true confidence and being comfortable in one's own skin, or even the hint of a dark secret that can be trusted to no one.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Come and Shop with Me: Nocturnal Nostalgia

Well, I am a couple days late on this one, but I feel it has been worth the wait to
have time to properly introduce this designer.
As any Victorian Goth knows, wardrobe says nearly everything. It is the first glimpse
anyone gets of the individual, so it should reflect their personal style, and fit
correctly, adding to their good carriage, healthy posture and general air of
confidence, refinement and flair for fun. Sadly, my own wardrobe is still far from
where I wish it to be. This led me on a hunt for clothiers and designers who
understand the genre, appreciate the beauty and whose pieces are attainable by
everyone without skimping one tiny bit on quality or originality.
All of that having been said, allow me to share a few creations from Nocturnal
Nostalgia. From corsets to gorgeously detailed chokers to her darkly dainty headwear,
Rose, the driving force behind Nocturnal Nostalgia, very obviously channels her talent and appreciation of the beauty of the Victorian era into every piece.
So let's begin with the first thing to catch my eye when I first visited her Etsy
store. These days ladies' top hats seem all the rage, followed by veils to maintain
that air of mystery, however, there is a very feminine, very unassuming accessory
that I feel deserves more "face time" at gatherings and in print. Most often seen as
part of a Gothic Lolita ensemble, Nocturnal Nostalgia's skull headpiece with lace and
ribbons is reminiscent of headwear worn to a Victorian Noir ladies' tea party, with
black bustle gown in a cozy parlour over a favourite tea and engaging conversation.
The same piece at a gathering is less austere than a top hat and accentuates rather
than shields the wearer's impeccably applied make up and naturally luminescent

Of course the staple of any good Victorian woman's wardrobe is the corset. There are
as many approaches to how a corset should fit as there are those who work to fit into
them. While it is this jaded old crow's attitude that it is there to accentuate what
one already has, there is also the fascinating challenge of some reenactors to
duplicate history by using brutally (and impressively) reinforced versions to squeeze
and shape the mid-section to unnaturally small measurements. Kudos to those who
attain that waspish figure without serious harm. I will, however, leave that debate
to the blogs geared solely to this particular undergarment. My goal is to share a
wonderful piece by Nocturnal Nostalgia, that, in this case, marries richly coloured
satin with my favourite coloured lace: black. There is no questioning the femininity
and quality of Rose's work. The handmade garment is a quality investment, and she
does do custom work to your measurements, making this a key element of your wardrobe that reflects your individuality at its finest.

Now finally (for this entry, anyhow) and hardly least, is that key element to a
Victorian wardrobe. It is also one of my all time favourite accessories, and one of
the main ways most creators/artists show their individuality and eye for detail: The
As a varitable hoarder of chokers and choker-making supplies (that I never seem to
have time to play with), I absolutely fell in love with Nocturnal Nostalgia's many
designs.  I am happy to share two here for your viewing pleasure. Please, do take the
time to visit her Etsy store and her site to get a good look at the variety of neck
adornments that can both accentuate a long neck or draw attention from a porcelain
complexion to a beautifully-matched corset just below. Remember... Victorian Elegance
is Never an Illusion.. it is Illustration in perfect, lacey balance.

I hope you have enjoyed the pieces I have featured here.  These are only the tip of
the iceberg. For more visual indulgence and to contact Nocturnal Nostalgia, I have
included her links below.
Etsy Shop:

Until next... Keeping the light on.. (it annoys the shadows. = )  )

Friday, July 1, 2011

Come and Shop with Me: Nacreous Alchemy

I am thrilled to begin what I hope to be a long tradition of featuring the art,
jewelry and other creations of very talented individuals with this particular gem.
As anyone knows, a proper Victorian Gothic home should reflect the style and
eccentricities of its inhabitants. When a friend recommended this particular shop (or
as I prefer to spell it.."shoppe"..) on Etsy, I had to chuckle when I found it was
someone already in my list of favourites.
The name alone had caught my eye..Nacreous Alchemy. And when I read one particular
line on her site as Michelle, the mind behind Nacreous Alchemy, described her
approach to her art: "I’ve always found beauty in things most others consider dark,
depressing, or just scary," I bordered on giddiness. So with her kind permission, I
wanted to take a moment to share a couple pieces of her work, as well as links to her
Etsy shop(pe) and her site.
Now don't think this wasn't a major undertaking, just attempting to single out a
piece or two to share. Every piece is unique, with its own personality, and it is our
good fortune that this artist does not limit herself to one medium.
So I begin with a unique, and timeless, mantle clock, perfect for setting a homey
mood above your fireplace. This "clock" no longer keeps time, but instead seems to
convey a very kind message that at some point, time is irrelevant and nothing to
worry about. The stately old house in the background is no more concerned than the
smiling skull that peers out from behind the glass.

Now for a more nostalgic feel, one might tap their inner creature of the night by
gazing at one of many lovely shadow boxes. This one features the Father of all
Draculas, the ever-classy, perfectly Victorian Gothic Bela Lugosi and his vampire
brides. Not only does it make for a wonderful visual escape, it tells guests "This is
a house of tradition. And we do not drink... wine."  (Ok, so that was a tad camp, but
you must forgive me, I got caught up in the moment.)

Finally, (as I had to stop at three or else risk writing a book and featuring
everything) I had to share a lovely wall hanging for the true die-hard (pun intended)
Victorian Goth. It states succinctly, "I shall go to my grave in style." From the
lovely black roses to the lace cuff and vintage spider ring, this is clearly an
accent piece perfect for anywhere from the boudoir, overlooking a dressing table, to
the parlour, where this single hand can seemingly wave to visitors, as is only

So now that you have seen a few of the fine, and fun, creations at Nacreous Alchemy,
please be sure to visit her site and Etsy store, find her on Facebook and "Like" her
page, and wander lost for a while in the "beauty in things most others consider dark,
depressing or just scary." After all, isn't that just one more brilliant aspect of
the members of our Victorian Gothic little world?

Etsy shop:

Until next... enjoy, and scream if you need anything.

Raven S.